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Community services: what do we know about quality? Briefing

O'DOWD Nora Cooke, DORNING Holly
2017

This briefing looks at trends in national measures in English community trusts to try to gain a view of quality in community services more generally. The analysis examines trends in routinely collected national quality measures in 18 community trusts in England, which account for a quarter of all community health services delivered in the NHS. Some of the key findings are: care in community trusts was predominantly delivered by professionally qualified clinical staff such as community health nurses, allied health professionals and community health visitors – staff numbers in the 18 trusts stayed roughly stable between late 2013 and 2016, although demand has almost certainly increased; these staff were roughly as satisfied with their jobs as staff in all NHS trusts, although they were less likely to recommend their trust as a place to work; the median waiting time for an outpatient appointment was three days longer in the community than across all trusts in England; patients using services offered by community trusts would generally recommend them to a friend and were less likely to experience harm compared to those using services provided by non-community trusts. The briefing concludes that the difficulties experienced in gathering useful information on community services indicate that the national lack of community data needs to be resolved before questions of quality can be meaningfully answered.

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